Why I own a meerkat pet (and why you should not)

In February 2015 I got a call from the vet asking if I would like to take on a meerkat. With no second thought I drove to the vet and picked up Meera, a tiny meerkat with scars and wounds all over her – supposedly blind.

meera1Once I got home I started researching, what do they eat, what do they need, can I send her abroad, find her a group of other meerkats? I messaged several meerkat experts and also talked to all the zoos in U.A.E., and it turned out that meerkats are highly territorial and none of them thought it was a good idea to introduce her to a group of meerkats, especially considering her being blind and not being able to read their body language.

meera2

After living in a small cage all her life, Meera was scared, she tried to bite anyone coming close to her and I could only pick her up with a towel or a blanket. She only looked for company in my dogs, still terrified of humans. But slowly, slowly she became more interested and started sleeping next to me under the blanket.
It makes me so sad knowing that she grew up without a family, without other meerkats, without being able to dig tunnels and hunt her own food. And what makes it even sadder is that there are so many more Meeras out there who’s suffering still did not end.

meera3

A few months later, in May 2015 Jasper joined us, the little fennec fox was kept in similar horrific conditions and quickly became Meera’s best friend. They spend most of their days cuddling and playing with each other. As you can see all of Meera’s wounds healed and she is now a very happy meerkat.

meeracollage

I do not want to encourage anyone to get themselves a meerkat. Meerkats are not pets. Meerkats are very social animals, who live in groups from 3 to 50 meerkats. When they wake up in the morning they enjoy the sun and then spend the rest of the day looking for food. They live in tunnels, which keeps them safe from predators and the heat. If you would like to know more about meerkats you can watch meerkat manor on Youtube.

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